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  • Writer's pictureKyser Clark

Are Cybersecurity Bootcamps Worth It?

Updated: Apr 5

So you're looking to start a cybersecurity career and are considering your training options... great! In this article, I will explore if cybersecurity boot camps are "worth it" compared to other training options.


  • Quick answer: boot camps are NOT "worth it."

  • They are not bad or a waste of time. However, I think every other training option is better in most cases.

  • Boot camps are expensive, and there are many options to learn the same skills for significantly less money.

  • Boot camps are generally instructor-led, which is their biggest advantage compared to the self-study options.

  • Boot camps are only "worth it" if the price is of no concern to you and you want instructed-led training because you find it difficult to self-study.

Generally, there are four training options:

Training Method


Time to complete


Bang for your buck

"Worth it?"

Boot camp









Very High













Very High


Boot camps

Cybersecurity boot camps are intensive training programs that prepare students for cybersecurity careers. These programs are typically short, full-time courses that provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to enter the workforce. Cybersecurity boot camps are widely considered a great option for those who want to get started in this field quickly.


  • Gain skills quickly (4.5-5.5 months if you attend full-time).

  • Some boot camps offer part-time attendance, which costs a little more and significantly extends the completion time.

  • Instructor-led.

  • (This can be a con if you prefer self-study)

  • Set course schedule and learning path.

  • (This can be a con if you prefer self-pacing and the ability to choose your own path).

  • Some programs incorporate certifications in the boot camp.


  • Expensive ($13,252.34 on average).

  • Lack of Credentials (No degree and possibly no certifications). Job postings do not require proof of boot camp participation (unlike degrees and certifications).

Four-Year Degree

For someone with little to no experience in cybersecurity, acquiring a degree from an accredited institution is a great way to gain the necessary knowledge and expertise to get started. A cybersecurity degree is designed to teach students about computer networks, security protocols and software, cryptography principles, and more. By taking courses relevant to entry-level roles in the sector, aspiring professionals can develop a comprehensive understanding of the fundamental concepts related to cybersecurity. In addition, having a degree will give them credentials that will help their job search and prove they have been educated on various topics in this rapidly changing field. These elements combine to create an objective-based education tailored specifically for people starting in the industry, making it easier for them to break into this exciting field.


  • Degrees are highly sought after by employers.

  • Learn crucial research, communication, and writing skills (unlike other options).

  • Online and in-person degrees are available.

  • Set course schedule and learning path.

  • (This can be a con if you prefer self-pacing and the ability to choose your own path).


  • Very Expensive ($35,692 on average).

  • Gain skills very slowly (Typically, your first 2 years are courses that don't provide. cybersecurity skills, and it typically takes 4 years to finish the degree).

  • Not as "hands-on" as the other options.


Cybersecurity certifications are specialized qualifications designed to help aspiring professionals become more employable. A cybersecurity certification can demonstrate a person's proficiency in using different tools and systems and provide evidence that they are knowledgeable and capable of dealing with technical security roles. Having them can also set individuals apart from others applying for the same jobs, giving them an edge over other candidates. Finally, many employers now look for certified candidates when hiring IT personnel—as such, bearing the right certification can go a long way towards helping people break into this rewarding and lucrative career path.


  • Affordable

  • $554.51 on average (for both training and exam voucher(s)).

  • Slightly more expensive ($618.51 on average) if you study/practice part-time

  • Gain skills very quickly (about 1-2 months if you study/practice full-time).

  • about 2-4 months if you study/practice part-time

  • They are highly sought-after by employers as they are listed on most job postings.

  • Self-study.

  • (This can be a con if you prefer to have instructor-led training)

  • Self-Paced.

  • (This can be a con if you prefer a set schedule).

  • Semi-custom learning path.

  • (This can be a con if you prefer a fully structured path).


  • Very difficult to pass exams, and you must pay for another voucher to re-take the exam in most cases.

  • Somewhat of a hassle to maintain as most certifications require re-certification after three years.

  • You must pay small maintenance fees to maintain an active certification in most cases.


Self-learning and taking the initiative to improve skills in their free time set job candidates apart in this field. Investing time in self-learning cybersecurity fundamentals, developing necessary skills, and researching existing trends are important approaches to gaining an edge before an interview. Demonstrating an enthusiasm towards learning new technologies while developing knowledge of industry practices through open-source study materials and certifications can make candidates stand out among their competitors. Employers often prefer those who demonstrate competence by actively seeking out information independently versus relying solely on course credits or a degree. Becoming self-taught in the rapidly changing world of cybersecurity is essential if one wishes to stand the best chance of being successfully employed in this continually evolving industry. There is absolutely no reason to forgo self-learning, as you should be self-learning on top of any other training option you are doing.


  • Every skill you need can be learned at home for free or at a very low cost.

  • Gain skills very quickly (You can learn valuable skills in hours).

  • Seemingly endless online resources.

  • Very "hands-on."

  • Employers seek people who learn in their free time as it shows ambition and desire to be in the field.

  • Self-paced

  • Custom learning path


  • No credentials to list on a résumé (degree, certification).

  • (There are ways to list your projects on résumés though).

  • Self-study and self-paced means you may not know what or where to go for learning.

  • (This can be a pro if you know what you want to learn and where to go to learn it).


Boot camps will teach you valuable skills that will definitely help you break into cybersecurity and land your first job. However, boot camps are not "worth it" compared to other options because they lack credentials and are expensive. Degrees offer more value despite being double the price and taking eight times as long to complete. Certifications offer significantly more value because you can get them in a shorter time frame for significantly less money. Self-studying is more valuable because it costs next to nothing, and you can learn the same skills in the same time frame and perhaps even shorter. Boot camps are only "worth it" if you absolutely want instructor-led training. Instructors are great and are probably better than reading a book or watching a video series because you can ask the instructor questions and get immediate answers, explanations, and feedback. However, these perks are very expensive. Boot camps do not get mentioned in job postings as certifications and degrees do. Employers want "credentials" or verifiable skills. Unlike certifications and degrees, a bootcamp completion doesn't necessarily validate that you have the necessary skills.

If the price of the bootcamp is of no concern to you, and you have no idea how to get started in cybersecurity, by all means, sign up for a bootcamp and complete it. Just know that doing your own research, self-studying for certifications, and completing free and low-cost labs will always be a better bang for your buck. I always recommend certifications for starting out in cybersecurity. They offer a somewhat structured learning path but provide ultimate flexibility at an affordable price and are highly desirable by employers in job postings. Now that you're convinced that cybersecurity boot camps are not "worth it", you may be wondering how best to start your career. Don't worry I got you covered! Check out this article for my complete guide on how to start a career in cybersecurity:

How to Get Into Cybersecurity (and Other IT Fields) With No Experience


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